Medical mycologists in The South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases (STCEID) and the Department of Biology at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) have significantly advanced the fight against San Joaquin Valley Fever, a respiratory infection of humans, commonly called Valley Fever, which is caused by the Coccidioides fungus.
For the first time, the researchers have genetically engineered a live, attenuated vaccine that successfully protects mice against Valley Fever, known in scientific circles as coccidioidomycosis.
A live, attenuated vaccine is used as a preventative treatment based upon creation of a mutated form of the pathogen that is no longer capable of causing disease.
Coccidioides, a soil-dwelling fungus, is responsible for significantly increased numbers of respiratory infections among outdoor workers when compared to the general population. In addition, people with compromised T-cell immunity, the elderly and certain racial groups, such as African-Americans and Filipinos who live in the Southwestern United States, have an increased incidence of the infection's symptoms, caused by the inhalation of Coccidioides spores.
In approximately 40% of human Valley Fever cases, respiratory problems set in one to three weeks after inhalation. Although less than one percent of infected individuals experience severe symptoms, such as chronic-progressive pneumonia or meningitis, the incidence of reported primary pulmonary infection cases in Arizona and California is on the rise, having significantly increased in the last decade.
STCEID researchers at UTSA and Wilford Hall Medical Center at San Antonio's Lackland Air Force Base have long collaborated on Coccidioides studies in the hopes of developing a vaccine to better protect those who are exposed to it in the future. This most recent study has been funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the California HealthCare Foundation and the Margaret Batts Tobin Foundation.
"Respiratory infections caused by Coccidioides tend to escape the radar of most large pharmaceutical companies, because only about 100,000 cases are reported each year," said Garry Cole, professor of biology at UTSA and the study's principal investigator.
He adds, "But when I look at 100,000 cases, I see 100,000 faces looking back at me."
About the University of Texas at San Antonio
The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the fastest growing higher education institutions in Texas and the second largest of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the UT System. As a multicultural research and teaching institution of access and excellence, UTSA aims to be the Next Great Texas University, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
UTSA serves more than 28,400 students in 64 bachelor's, 47 master's and 21 doctoral degree programs in the colleges of Architecture, Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Honors, Liberal and Fine Arts, Public Policy, Sciences and Graduate School. Founded in 1969, UTSA is an intellectual and creative resource center and a socioeconomic development catalyst for Texas and beyond.
Christi Fish | EurekAlert!
Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg
New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences